Northern & Central Midwest

May, 2011
Regional Report

Harden Houseplants Gradually

If you choose to bring your houseplants outdoors for the summer, harden them gradually. Place their pots into heavier pots for the summer to avoid being blown over. Introduce them to wind and light for a few hours at first and then increase the exposure daily. Watch carefully for water needs.

Bring out Summer Bulbs

Begin hardening off your summer bulbs that were potted up earlier in the spring. Find a shaded spot protected from the wind and bring them out on warm days for a couple of hours the first day. Gradually increase the time outdoors and the exposure to the elements. Use caution because some will not withstand full sun.

Tempt Migrating Birds

Get ready for migrating birds in early May. Have your feeders cleaned and filled, and put out fruit for the orioles. Clean your birdbaths and if possible, provide a gentle drip of water. The birds are attracted to the pinging sound of dripping water.

Plant Container-Grown Plants

Plant perennials, roses, trees and shrubs that were grown in pots. Clip through any circling roots and if the plant is potbound, cut an "X" into the bottom. Make sure you have a large enough planting hole, and flare out the rootball in the planting hole. Fill with the same soil you removed and water well.

Transplant on a Cloudy Day

As you get ready to set out transplants of flowers and vegetables, try to aim for a calm, cloudy transplanting day. Also, be sure to protect them from wind and intense sun for the first few days. Row covers are ideal for this protection and can be removed after two or three days.

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